Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

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February 26, 2013

Airport Board signs petition to lower FAA fee

Greensburg — Expansion of Greensburg Municipal Airport took another step forward Monday night at the regularly scheduled meeting of the Greensburg-Decatur County Board of Aviation.

The Board received confirmation that a grant for the Runway Rehabilitation Project from 2009 has reached the closeout stage.

The grant has been approved, and now requires the board’s signatures to be awarded.

After the meeting, Airport Board President Bill Ernstes told Daily News Reporter Rob Cox that the project must be fully funded by the Board before grant money is awarded.

"That's another thing we'll have to figure out," said Ernstes. "how to fund the project."

The project will nonetheless be reimbursed 100 percent by the grant money, Ernstes added.

Don Manley, lead representative on the project from civil engineering firm Butler, Fairman & Seufert, stressed that he'll work to get the grant money released as quickly as possible and may well procure it before work is completed.

The Board must next complete the Environmental Impact Assessment, which, Ernstes said, has been going well. The Environmental Impact Assessment has been overseen through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) by Bobb Beauchamp.

“We’re reaching the home stretch,” said Ernstes.

The Airport Board cannot speak with affected landowners until the Environment Impact Assessment is complete. Ernstes estimated that, after it begins, the process with landowners might take upwards of an additional two years to complete.

While the airport’s expansion has been supported by many, landowners have overwhelmingly resisted the project. By law, the Board will be required to present landowners with a copy of their rights as landowners.

Also presented to the Airport Board Monday night: A petition from the FAA, compelling President Obama to disband a $100 user fee to join the FAA. The board agreed to sign the petition.

Mayor Gary Herbert approached the board near the meeting's conclusion, requesting they initiate a shadowing program for high school students.

Mayor Herbert expressed a desire to give high schoolers a taste of participating in local civics, thereby encouraging them to pursue their own civic-related interests and responsibilities.

He suggested the board allow students to shadow board members to become familiar with public-service-related jobs.

The Airport Board agreed to consider Mayor Herbert’s request.

Contact: Tess Rowing 812-663-3111 x7004.

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